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Describe a Difficult Decision that You Once Made: IELTS Cue Card Samples

Updated on 05 February, 2024

Anupriya Mukherjee

Anupriya Mukherjee

Sr. Content Writer

Candidates appearing for the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) need to prepare for the speaking section. They receive a IELTS cue card with the topic for this part of the assessment. While framing the answer, the focus should be on addressing all aspects of the question clearly and concisely. One of the most asked cue topics revolves around describing a tough decision made in the past. Based on personal experience, candidates can share any relevant incident with details. They can start by highlighting their experience with a tough decision and then explain why they pick one side.

Describe a difficult decision that you made once: Sample 1

I believe I have come across a few difficult decisions in my life. However, if I had to select the hardest one, I would choose the college selection process. Growing up, I always wanted to study at one of India’s top engineering schools, i.e. IIT. I spent my entire high school duration preparing for the entrance exams. However, the result was disappointing as I did not score enough to secure admission to my choice of institution. Now, I was facing the dilemma of selecting the next best option for my further education.  

I wanted to spend the next four years of my life in a nurturing environment where I could secure my career prospects. It could either be a private or a government institution. The former option promised a holistic college life and overall career development but cost more than I could afford. The latter option was inexpensive but not as enriching due to the lack of practical training and extracurriculars. It seemed like a battle between the expenditure and my personal and professional growth.

After consulting with my parents and teachers, I was able to make the right decision. I decided to enroll in a private institution and directed all my efforts toward academics. My family supported my decision and helped me apply for an educational loan in the nearby bank. Finally, I packed my bags for college and began my journey of becoming a successful engineer.

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Describe a difficult decision that you once made: Sample 2

Question: What factors do you check while making an important decision? Explain with an example. 

Decision-making is not just a mere skill that goes on the resume but also what carves our path. Hence, it is crucial to analyze all the options closely and weigh all the pros and cons.  

To speak of one of my life instances, I was recently faced with a tough decision while finalizing a job offer. After graduating as an engineer, I decided to join the IT sector or enter the marketing world.  

The IT sector seemed like a safe option due to multiple reasons. Firstly, it offers job security and constant promotions, and secondly, you can always learn about new technology and get a significant pay raise. However, the work in this field did not interest me. 

On the other hand, the marketing sector offered a lesser salary and required more working hours. To make things harder, I was unsure about being successful in this field after studying science in school and college. However, I felt drawn to this field due to the creativity and work flexibility. 

So, after adequately analyzing my situation, listing all pros and cons, and consulting with my parents, I landed on an informed decision. I chose to work in marketing as it was something I had always wanted to pursue. Additionally, this field allowed me to expand my skill set and upgrade my work quality. 

Today, I can safely say that I made the right decision, and it is always better to look for future opportunities than to focus on the present scenario.

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Describe a difficult decision that you once made: Sample 3

One of the most challenging decisions I've ever made occurred about two years ago when I had to choose between continuing my job in a well-established company and pursuing further education abroad. At that time, I was working in a reputable firm with a decent salary and career growth opportunities. However, deep down, I always harbored the ambition to pursue a master's degree in computer science to deepen my expertise and broaden my career horizons.

The decision was difficult for several reasons. Firstly, I was in a comfortable position at my job, with a stable income and a supportive team. Leaving meant stepping out of my comfort zone and facing the uncertainties that come with moving to a new country and adapting to a different educational system. Secondly, the financial aspect of funding my education and living expenses abroad was daunting. Although I had some savings, the thought of taking on a student loan was intimidating.

I deliberated over this decision for months, weighing the pros and cons. I discussed it with family, friends, and mentors, seeking their advice and perspectives. I also conducted extensive research on potential universities, the quality of their computer science programs, and the long-term benefits of having an international degree.

Ultimately, the deciding factor was my long-term career aspirations and the realization that further education would open up more opportunities for innovation and leadership roles in technology. I decided to accept the offer from a university in Canada renowned for its research facilities and academic excellence in computer science.

The decision to pursue my master's degree abroad was indeed difficult, but it has been one of the most rewarding choices of my life. It exposed me to new cultures, ideas, and ways of thinking. I was able to specialize in artificial intelligence, a field I am deeply passionate about, and the experience has significantly shaped my personal and professional growth.

In retrospect, this difficult decision taught me the importance of taking calculated risks and following my aspirations, even when it means venturing into the unknown. It reinforced my belief that stepping out of one’s comfort zone is often where the most significant growth occurs.



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Describe a Time When You Told Your Friend an Important Truth

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Describe A Live Sports Match That You Watched

Describe A Time When You Helped A Friend

Describe A Quiet Place You Like To Spend Time In

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Describe A Time When Your Computer Broke Down

Describe A Difficult Thing You did

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Anupriya Mukherjee

Sr. Content Writer

Anupriya Mukherjee is a passion-driven professional working as a Content Marketer and earlier worked as a Digital Marketeer. With around 6 years of work experience, she has experience creating high-quality, engaging content for websites, blogs, news articles, video scripts, brochures, and ebooks.

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